Newsletter #664

Lots of match reports (many thanks) and lots of other stuff as well! No time to write an intro though!

Next game: Everton at home, Saturday 9th December 2000


Fightback Not Enough to Earn a Point

Manchester City produced a second-half rally to give Chelsea a scare at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. But the Londoners held on to beat the Blues 2-1. Gianfranco Zola put the home side ahead in the first half and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink doubled the advantage just before the break. But City dominated the second period and were rewarded when Paul Dickov reduced the arrears with ten minutes left. But although shots from Horlock and Wright-Phillips threatened the Chelsea goal thereafter, the Blues were unable to snatch an equaliser and went down to their sixth successive league defeat.

Ranieri Gives City Credit

Manchester City went down 2-1 at Chelsea on Sunday. But the home side’s under-pressure manager Claudio Ranieri admitted that Joe Royle’s men gave his team a real fright. City trailed by two goals at the break but produced a spirited display in the second period. And Ranieri admitted that the Blues had posed his star-studded outfit plenty of problems. “We really, really struggled [after half-time],” he admitted. “It was all credit to them because they had a very good second half.”

Royle – We Were Unlucky

Joe Royle saw his Manchester City side go down 2-1 at Chelsea on Sunday. And the Blues’ boss was particularly frustrated by the result because he felt the City display deserved better. City had plenty of possession in the first half but went in two down at the break thanks to a combination of slack defending at key moments and quality finishing from the hosts. And despite second half pressure from the Blues, Chelsea’s two first-half strikes proved sufficient to earn the victory. “Everybody who’s seen the game knows we deserved something,” said Royle. “[The players] are very frustrated and very annoyed but we’ll be back on Saturday and raring to go.”

Old Links Revived in Sunday Press

Recent weeks have seen much frenzied speculation surrounding Manchester City’s search for a new striker. But media sources seem to be running out of fresh rumours – though a couple of old links were recycled this weekend. Eidur Gudjohnsen was linked with the Blues in the summer but joined Chelsea. But in the last couple of months, several sources have claimed that the 22-year-old could be set finally to make the move to Maine Road – a story given another airing in this weekend’s News of the World. The player then featured for the Londoners against the Blues on Sunday but was substituted early in the second half. Meanwhile, Andrei Kanchelskis has again been touted as a possible target for City, though it’s also said that the out-of-favour Russian winger may leave Rangers to spend the rest of the season on loan at Bradford.

Chelsea Turn Down Gudjohnsen Bid

Chelsea have revealed that they have turned down a £6 million bid for striker Eidur Gudjohnsen. It’s unclear which club tabled the offer for the Icelandic star but it’s thought the interested party may well have been Manchester City. The London club refused to confirm the source of the bid, but media sources seem to rate the Blues as the most likely prospect. However, having sold Tore Andre Flo, the Stamford Bridge outfit are resisting the opportunity to cash in on the man they signed from Bolton for £4 million in the summer. City have been linked with several strikers in recent days, with Inter’s Robbie Keane and West Brom’s Lee Hughes among the others to feature in speculation.

Grant Makes Baggies Loan Switch

Tony Grant has endured a miserable year after joining Manchester City from Everton last December. And now the Merseysider has made a loan move away from Maine Road, joining West Bromwich Albion. Grant has started only four league games for the Blues – and none has come this term, when he has only a single substitute appearance to his name. The 26-year-old was failing to make the matchday squad even before recent injury problems and was linked with Huddersfield and Preston earlier in the season. It’s as yet unclear whether there’s any prospect of a permanent switch to the Hawthorns for the midfielder, but given that he appears to have little future at Maine Road, Joe Royle could well be tempted by a realistic offer from the Midlands club.

Wednesday Deny City Morrison Link

Manchester City are being linked with Sheffield Wednesday’s Owen Morrison. But Wednesday have angrily refuted suggestions that the promising 18-year-old is for sale. Midfielder Morrison scored for Wednesday in their surprise 2-1 League Cup win at West Ham last week. And Friday’s Sun newspaper claimed the Blues had already enquired about the player, who is rated at £2 million by the South Yorkshire club. With Wednesday impressed by City winger Terry Cooke during his recent Hillsborough loan spell yet unable to afford the £500,000 fee to make the transfer permanent, it was reported that a swap deal could be on the cards. However, club secretary Alan Sykes has rubbished the speculation over the Northern Irish starlet, asserting that, “We see our young players as the future of the club and we want to keep him.”

French Striker Arrives on Trial

Manchester City’s search for a striker is not quite as much of a priority as it was a couple of weeks ago. But the hunt goes on and a French front man has arrived at Maine Road on trial. Joe Royle says that following the return to fitness of Shaun Goater and Paulo Wanchope’s rediscovery of his form, there isn’t now as pressing a need for attacking reinforcements. But the City boss nevertheless remains keen to add more quality up front if he can, and 24-year-old Cedric Bardon has arrived for a four-day trial. It’s been said that if the Rennes player impresses, he could make a £1 million permanent switch – though one media source rates his chances of doing so as slim.

Strker Hunt Moves Abroad?

Joe Royle’s attempts to sign a new striker have so far borne no fruit. And it now looks as if the Blues’ boss might be setting his sights abroad to land the hitherto elusive boost to his attack. City have already taken French striker Cedric Bardon on trial from Rennes. And 22-year-old Dane Peter Madsen is also being linked with the Blues in his homeland. Sunday’s ‘Ekstra Bladet’ newspaper claimed that Royle is weighing up a bid for the Brondby front man, who has several under-21 caps for his country. Madsen is said to be technically gifted with an eye for goal, but something of an individualist. He has recently returned to action after a three-month injury lay-off.

Luton Want Taylor – But for Free

Luton Town are keen to sign out-of-favour striker Gareth Taylor from Manchester City. But the Bedfordshire outfit need to persuade the Blues to release the ex-Sheffield United player on a free transfer. Taylor was recently linked with Stockport, who wanted a loan deal only because they felt they couldn’t afford to take the front man permanently. And it seems Luton are in the same boat, but are hoping Joe Royle might cut his losses on a player who clearly has no Maine Road future. “Gareth Taylor might go down the pecking order at the moment,” said recently appointed manager Lil Fuccillo. “I think our chances of bringing him here are 50:50.”

Joe – We’re Better Than League Position Suggests

Manchester City are on the edge of the relegation zone after six straight league defeats. But Joe Royle is refusing to panic and claims recent results are not a true indicator of his side’s quality. Royle had said even before Sunday’s defeat at Chelsea that recent results do not do the Blues justice. And the Blues’ boss reasserted his belief after the Stamford Bridge clash – though he knows it’s imperative his team get back on track against Everton next weekend. “We need the three points,” he said of next Saturday’s clash with his former club. “That’s the only incentive we need.”

Goater Relieved to be Off the Mark

Shaun Goater notched 29 goals in Manchester City’s promotion campaign. But it took the Bermudian until the end of November to get off the mark this term – and he’s relieved finally to have found the net again. Injury problems meant that last term’s top scorer didn’t feature in the senior City side until late October – and then he returned in a team which had lost its form. And though the 30-year-old says the fact City beat Wimbledon last Wednesday was more important that who scored, there’s no denying he was delighted to have bagged his first goal in almost seven months. “What we have done now is stop the rot of losing and that was more important than me scoring,” he reflected. “But it was a great feeling when that goal went in – I was beginning to wonder where my first goal of the season was coming from.”

Joe Pleased With Paulo’s Return to Form

Joe Royle dropped Paulo Wanchope last month after publicly criticising the striker’s performances following the Blues’ defeat at West Ham. But the Costa Rican grabbed two goals in four days last week to earn his manager’s praise. Wanchope is known for his unpredictability and inconsistency – and Royle admits that the laid-back front man can certainly frustrate his manager. But the Blues’ boss believes that when the ex-Derby striker is on song, he can cause even the best defences problems. “I think Jim Smith had hair when Paulo went to Derby,” quipped Royle in an interview with the official club website. “I can understand all the frustration with the player. But he is dangerous and could have scored four or five against Wimbledon.” However, Sunday’s match at Chelsea then continued the 24-year-old’s rollercoaster season – he was withdrawn at half time at Stamford Bridge. However, the City manager confirmed that the reason for the substitution was purely tactical.

City Wait on Tiatto Fitness

Manchester City’s squad had a day of rest on Monday after the previous day’s narrow defeat at Chelsea. But when the Blues’ players return to training on Tuesday, a priority will be to treat injury victim Danny Tiatto. The Australian is City’s main injury concern following the trip to Stamford Bridge, when he was substituted by Gerard Wiekens in the second half after sustaining an ankle injury. But Joe Royle is hopeful that the combative full-back will be fit for next weekend’s game against Everton. “Danny seems to pick up a knock in every game in which he plays,” the City boss told the official club website at “This time it is a sore ankle but I don’t think it is desperately serious.”

Wright-Phillips Takes Zola’s Shirt

Manchester City have had a dismal league run in recent weeks – but one bright spot for the Blues has been the form of Shaun Wright-Phillips. And the youngster impressed again at Chelsea on Sunday, before snatching a personal memento. Wright-Phillips again showed his promise at Stamford Bridge, impressing even the home team’s manager Claudio Ranieri. But the 19-year-old failed to cap the afternoon with his first league goal, firing narrowly wide from Shaun Goater’s knockdown late on. However, he did emerge with one item which he’ll hold dear – after the match he asked for, and received, Gianfranco Zola’s shirt as a keepsake.

Ipswich Cup Date Confirmed

Manchester City have confirmed the date of their League Cup quarter final against Ipswich. The match will take place on Tuesday, 12 December with a 7.45 p.m. kick-off. Surprisingly, the only all-Premiership clash of the round has not been selected for live coverage by Sky TV, and though City usually play midweek home games on Wednesday evenings, Ipswich have requested that this tie be scheduled for Tuesday. The Suffolk outfit apparently want to stay in the north west following their league game at Liverpool the previous Sunday.

Sale Win Vote for Maine Road Move

Stockport County last week threw their hat into the ring as the race hotted up to secure the tenancy of Maine Road once Manchester City leave. But the Hatters’ bid was in vain as rugby union outfit Sale Sharks will be moving into the Blues’ spiritual home. County chairman Brendan Elwood claimed a move out of Stockport would benefit his team, with poor gates and facilities currently preventing County from progressing as a club. And he even mooted a name change to the unlikely-sounding ‘Man-Stock County’ if the First Division outfit had relocated. However, Council chiefs on Monday backed the plan to bring rugby to the famous venue – a move which should allow the Blues still to use the ground for reserve and youth-team games. The Council will now enter talks with Sale chairman Brian Kennedy, who is believed to want the stadium also to host major rugby league games and possibly to be the base for a new Super League club.

City Junior Stars for England

Three Manchester City juniors featured in the England under-15 side against Scotland at Chester on Friday. And it was one of the young Blues who turned in a man-of-the-match display, scoring once and having a hand in three other goals. England romped to a 5-0 win, with Lee Croft the star of the show. The Maine Road junior normally plays up front or on the wing for City, but he produced a devastating display from centre midfield as the Scots were routed. Fellow Blue Dorryll Proffitt scored after coming on as a substitute, while City’s Shaun Cartwright produced a solid performance in an under-worked England defence.

Youth Side Take on Fulham

Manchester City’s FA Youth Cup campaign kicks off this weekend. The Blues face Fulham at Maine Road in a third round tie. City will field an inexperienced side, with several of the players who featured in last season’s highly-rated unit now ineligible. And the Blues have a tough challenge ahead against a Fulham side which will include several of the players in the under-17 side currently doing well in its section of the Academy League. Meanwhile, Rhys Day was on the mark for the City under-19s in the 2-1 defeat against Blackburn on Friday, while the under-17 fixture against Aston Villa, scheduled for Saturday, was put back to next week.


The original City fanzine is now online at with a top City news service, fans’ forum, online poll and new features set to be added over the coming weeks. Anyone wishing to contribute, advertise supporters’ meetings or make general comments should contact Frank Newton by e-mail at

Peter Brophy (


CHELSEA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 3rd December 2000

The last time I went to Stamford Bridge the away end was still a curve of open terracing half a mile away from the pitch, approached across a kind of derelict wasteland. Now it seems a bit ashamed to be associated with a football ground at all as you plough through “Chelsea Village”, with signs to restaurants, hotels, car parks and, if you look closely enough, the East Stand. The turnstiles are in a kind of shopping mall, though half the shops are closed and the rest all sell identical cardboard hot dogs. Very strange. Inside the ground seems half the size. The West Stand is being rebuilt, and the finished effect will be something like Maine Road, with lots of differently-designed bits thrown together to create nothing in particular. Some things don’t change though – 27 quid for a seat at pitch level, which meant another afternoon standing up to be able to see the goal at the far end.

Joe’s latest shuffling of the pack restored Horlock to the left side of midfield, Wright-Phillips on the right and Haaland and Whitley in the middle. A back four of Charvet, Prior, Howey and Tiatto didn’t fill you with confidence on the flanks, but Goater and Wanchope up front looked promising.

From the start it was clear that Charvet was, well, edgy. A feeble back header gave Chelsea an early chance that was put just wide, but for the next half hour it was fairly even. City had a lot of the ball and territorial advantage but every time it was played to Wanchope he was pushed, pulled, and generally climbed all over but the free kick always went against him. Tiatto was flattened just outside the box – play on. Horlock makes a perfectly timed sliding tackle to take the ball, not the man – free kick to Chelsea. OK, so I’m biased but even so…

Apart from a corner which produced a header cleared off the line by Tiatto, Chelsea didn’t look particularly threatening until we gifted them a goal after half an hour. Prior took a throw near the corner flag, Haaland stretched to reach it and somehow managed to toe-poke the ball straight back to Zola on the edge of the box. One touch, one turn and a curling shot past Weaver’s left hand and inside the post. The goal was painful enough, the self-inflicted nature of it agonising. City pressed forward, Wright-Phillips fired just wide and then we were caught by a quick break down Chelsea’s right, the cross found Hasselbaink exposing the lack of pace in our central defence (for the only time in the match, to be fair) and the finish was clinical. 2-0 at half-time and most of us seemed to fear another heavy defeat rather than hope for any comeback.

Dickov came on for Wanchope at half-time – I didn’t think Paolo had done too badly, but trying something different was fair enough. Suddenly it was all City – Whitley had a shot saved after a fine run, De Goey nearly turned a cross-shot from Tiatto into his own net, Wright-Phillips fired just over, De Goey fumbled Horlock’s free kick round the post, Wright Phillips ran through the entire defence, the ball glued to his feet, and Haaland just failed to control the loose ball inside the area. Dickov squared up to Terry right in front of us after a late tackle for which Terry was booked; a minute later Terry kicked Dickov when he was on the ground, but somehow Mr Gallagher failed to spot that one (the referee, not Noel or Liam). Tiatto limped off to be replaced by Wiekens and we went off the boil for a few minutes. Chelsea got the ball in the net but it was offside. Charvet (I think – apologies if it wasn’t) allowed the lumbering Leboeuf to beat him on the byeline and fire in a shot which Weaver parried – somehow the resulting free header was put over the bar.

City revived themselves and pushed forward again. A long ball to the left wing should have been cut out but wasn’t. Horlock took it to the corner of the area, hit a powerful shot which De Goey beat away only for the inrushing Dickov to smack it first time into the corner of the net. Ten minutes left and Chelsea were visibly panicking. Horlock hit another shot from the same position but it flew high and wide. Dickov fed the Goat from the left but Shaun had to check his run and stumbled over the ball. In injury time Goater headed it down for Wright-Phillips on the edge of the area. He kept the shot down, De Goey was frozen to the spot but it was a yard wide. One day soon those will start going in.

A bit unlucky after a spirited fight back, but we can’t give goals away like that. Despite six defeats in a row we still don’t look a bad side. Howey and Prior (particularly Prior) were outstanding apart from the second goal, Wright-Phillips will terrify any defence and will start to score goals as well soon, Whitley was everywhere and it was good to see Horlock back and playing well – he gives the midfield much better balance and we’ve missed his free kicks.

Problem areas – still the right back slot, I’m afraid. Charvet’s had every chance and was given acres of space down the right in this match – he gave the ball away more frequently than Edghill and lacks Richard’s commitment and, it seems, bravery. Now must be the time to try Dunne there again (especially against his old club).

Strikers – I haven’t seen the stats but I suspect we had more shots than Chelsea. We badly need somebody who can take the chances the way Zola and Hasselbaink did.

Not too discouraging then, but there’s a big gap opening up and we are the wrong side of it. The next six games offer every opportunity to put that right and we need twelve points from them. A bit of luck, a bit of confidence and no stupid mistakes and we can do it.

Piers Pennington (


CHELSEA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 3rd December 2000

City’s last league visit to the capital this season provided me, being a Blue of southern domicile, with an all too uncommon opportunity to see the team in the flesh. Previous visits to London have not proved fruitful for us this season, and given our current league form I was predicting another struggle against the darker blues. Having secured my ticket in the pub beforehand, I settled down for the game opposite the giant meccano construction that is the West Stand at Stamford Bridge.

Even though the ground has a half finished feel to it, it is still a vast improvement on the “old” Bridge that I last set foot in back in 1983/84, when we won a close fought game 1-0. Alas, our fortunes were not to be rewarded with a victory this time, but this was not a performance to get downhearted about.

Line-up was Weaver, Tiatto, Howey, Prior, Charvet, Horlock, Whitley, Haaland, SWP, Goater and Wanchope. Right from the kick-off we had our fair share of the ball, creating a series of corners in a good spell of pressure early on. Chelsea seemed content to try and get us on the break, sitting back and defending deep at times. Our tactics seemed to be to play the ball from deep up to the big front two – Goater and Wanchope, with SWP buzzing about picking up the scraps and knock downs. The ref (Dermot Gallagher) seemed to make a few ‘home’ decisions early on, but this was compensated for by him turning down what looked a fairly good shout for a Chelsea penalty following a challenge by SWP on Babayaro. For the most part we held out at the back well in the first half hour, although Tiatto had to clear a Babayaro header off the line. Charvet, though looking good charging out from defence with the ball at his feet, all too often wasted the ball once he’d crossed the half-way line. Tiatto looked to be having a good game on the left, and Whitley was his usual energetic harassing self. Wanchope, though bringing the ball down and distributing well, looked far less threatening when facing the defenders. The Goat was largely anonymous, restricted to chasing the ball out wide on occasions due to the lack of quality ball into the middle – again Charvet being the culprit on a couple of occasions.

Then, just before half an hour was up, a slip/miskick by Haaland from an innocuous looking throw-in presented Zola with the ball in our box. A trademark jink inside Prior and a measured finish beyond Weaver’s outstretched arm, and we were 1-0 down from nowhere. SWP had a shot over the bar as we tried to respond, but Chelsea countered again, with Melchiot this time crossing for the unmarked Hasselbaink to pick his spot into the top right corner, Weaver having no chance. 2-0 down at half-time, and the traumatic scorelines of previous visits to London this term looked like being repeated.

It was a much more spirited City that came out for the second half though, with Dickov replacing Wanchope from the start. Despite a couple of early scares, particularly when Della Bona scuffed one wide when put through by Hasselbaink, City came back into the game with long periods of pressure. On a few occasions SWP twisted and turned and just when it seemed he was clear a Chelsea foot would nick the ball away. He also had a couple of shots that just went wide of each post, and a couple more that were blocked by massed bodies in the Chelsea box. Horlock was putting the ball about very well from the middle, setting Dickov off on a couple of runs down the left. One such ball down the left resulted in John Terry raising his foot so high to try to stop a ball going for a throw that he kicked Dickov in the face. Well on second thoughts I suppose that’s not that high, but Dickov went into “fiery Scot” mode and made his complaint nose-to-nose with Terry. The ref decided that a yellow card for Terry was enough, but the feud with Dickov carried on for another few minutes before Terry was subbed, presumably to avoid the inevitable second yellow, such was the wind-up job Dickov was pulling on him. The only other Chelsea chance I can recall in the second half came from a Gus Poyet header that hit the bar following a save from Weaver. Otherwise they just weren’t in it.

Anyway, the pressure was looking like it would be fruitless, with a couple of pinball-in-the-box chances going begging, a stinging shot straight at the ‘keeper – Dickov?, and a header just over the bar from Howey. Then a shot from Horlock on the left of the box saw De Goey parry the ball straight onto the foot of Dickov, who bagged the chance with glee. Ten minutes left and maybe we could get something after all? Unfortunately not, despite all our late pressure the Chelsea defence remained unbreached for a second time and we went down 2-1. But the way we fought in the second half, and the number of chances we created, left me with the feeling that not all is doom and gloom, despite this being the 6th league loss in a row. The team went off to deserved applause at the end, for the commitment and spirit with which we’d played, especially the second half. Overall I thought we were the better team, and that we fully deserved at least a point, but in the end we just couldn’t find the back of the net enough. Over to you Joe…?

Nigel Edney (


CHELSEA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 3rd December 2000

An avid reader of match reports from MCIVTA for as long as I can remember, I’ve been promising myself to put something back… so here goes. I watched the match sitting on a stool at the bar in my local pub “The Bitter End”. This is in the small town of St Germain en Laye just west of Paris. You may not realise this, but is now possible to live a fairly standard British existence without leaving the land of the frog. Sunday Times on the bar, Adnams Ale in the pumps and City being stuffed yet again on the TV.

I arrived to discover that the landlord had decided that we were watching the match without the sound. Does this matter? Well, on the one hand you avoid the smug remarks about Premiership quality coming out in the end. But on the other the loneliness of my suffering is always eased by the sound of the Blues in the away end. He eventually saw sense and brought on Andy Gray for Shania Twain. To the match. I made no notes, so these are my impressions through a slight beer-induced haze.

Team selection had the new partnership of Wanchope and The Goat retained up front, SWP playing “in the hole” just behind them, then a midfield of Horlock, Whitley and Haaland in front of Tiatto, Prior, Howey and Charvet. Nicky in goal. So, the big news was Horlock’s return and the fact that SWP is now a fixture. I felt quietly confident, but very nervous. At this stage in the proceedings I usually do a deal with the devil based on him delivering a thumping win in return for my loyalty. The run has to end somewhere and Chelsea with their current troubles seemed like as good a place as any. A game of two halves. The first half saw City slightly second best in midfield and relying on the long ball. Playing well enough with plenty of aggression, especially from Tiatto and Whitley but unable to put together a string of short accurate passes to link the defence and the attack. As is often the case, once this takes place the team switches to the bad old ways of route one. Given that we had two target men up front with SWP in place to feed off the rebounds, maybe this was the plan. However, it disappoints me when we play like this. I’ve been following City since the sixties and our successful teams have always passed the ball and used wingers. Watching Niall Quinn scoring off hoofed clearances never gave me any pleasure at all. In today’s game our two were up against Lebouef and Desailly. They got little joy. Chelsea in contrast steadily built their confidence around a passing game and started to apply pressure. Eventually the first goal came, probably justified by the run of play. A Prior throw in on our left was intercepted by Zola who nipped into the empty space where Prior normally stands and took a neat sidestep to round Charvet(?), placed the ball on his right foot and then slotted it just inside Nicky’s left hand post. A sickening sight which Sky embedded in my memory by replaying… and replaying.

We then survived a Desailly header from a Zola corner; Nicky came for the ball, got nowhere near it and Desailly flicked it far post from where it was cleared by Tiatto with a solid header. Not good. Then just before the break we went two down. I didn’t really take much notice of who scored it, thinking this was the second in what was to be a series. A break on the right, ball squared across the edge of the penalty area, just missed by both Prior and Howey, but met beautifully by Hasselbaink. Awful. Half time.

Looking back on the first half, I couldn’t remember SWP being involved at all… the ball just flew over his head every time. What a waste. A visit to the Gents, a refill of Adnams and a packet of Smoky Bacon, and then back to the action. Wanchope off, Dickov on. Great, perhaps this will mean a passing game will be used and we will see more of our wonder boy. And so it proved to be. City applied pressure throughout the half. Horlock gained in confidence and became heavily involved. Dickov’s never say die approach enthused the rest and little by little the tide turned and City started to dominate. But could we score? Not until it was almost too late. Finally we got the ball in the net. A cracking Horlock left footed shot was parried by De Gooey, only for Dickov to stick it in the net. Fantastic, but was it too late? As you know it was. But we had some good chances to level the score with the Goat and SWP both going close. At the end of the day another loss and no more points to add. But I still remain convinced that this side has the quality to come good. I don’t think our problem is the lack of a striker at all. It lies in midfield. In Dickov, the Goat, Wanchope and SWP, we have guys who can score goals but we lack the ability to control midfield with a passing, classy midfielder along the lines of CB. Bishop is too lightweight, Wiekens too slow. This won’t be solved quickly and we have to start winning matches without this missing piece. My plea to Joe is… stop looking for a striker, inspire the ones you have with confidence and start saving up for a midfield maestro.

Steve Norris (


CHELSEA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 3rd December 2000

Well again this is a Darlington pub match report. However, this one comes direct from the Cumby Arms (this could become a running theme – pubs of Darlo where to watch City…). After settling down to a coke and a big screen view (the only problem is that this pub is outside of Darlington so meaning I had to drive to the venue), City lined up with 4-4-2 formation: Weaver, Tiatto, Howey, Prior, Charvet, Horlock, Haaland, Whitley, Wright-Phillips, Goat, Onechop and a bench featuring Wiekens, Wright, Dickov, Kennedy and I presume Bish but I can’t remember as I was ordering my drink at the time!

Anyway in accordance with the request in a recent MCIVTA, City kicked-off from left to right. Early exchanges were kept to the centre of midfield with Tiatto looking quite menacing down the left flank. Unfortunately Charvet kept on losing the ball or falling over on the right wing, meaning that City’s play was often a bit lopsided. Prior and Howey looked comfortable at the back and Gudjohnson looked particularly poor (so he’ll be worth £6 million!). Stats had us with most of the possession but chances were few and far between, with neither side creating a decent opening. City had a lucky escape as Tiatto headed off the line after Weaver flapped at a deep corner and SWP fired just over at the other end. Prior then took a throw-in near our box and Alfie decided to knock a pass back to Zola who nipped in and out of our defence before curling a shot beyond Weaver into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. Lovely goal, though Prior would have been covering Zola’s run if he hadn’t been taking the throw so black mark against Alfie. City conceded a second just before half-time as a whipped in cross from the right-wing beat a stretched defence, Howey failed to connect with the ball as did Prior who was the wrong side of Jimmy-Floyd, and so it was 2-0 as Jimmy hammered the ball into the roof of the net (it did look at one point that the ball was going to go over as it was on his weaker left foot). Weaver who had no chance with the shot, stood shouting at someone, probably Howey though it could have been the ref’s assistant. Replays showed that thoughts of off-side were unfounded as Howey was playing Hasselbaink onside. So half-time arrived with City 2-0 down and showing little promise.

After purchasing a second coke (last of the big spenders) and making a £1.50 profit on the ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ quiz machine (top prize of £10) I settled down for the second-half. City switched things around by bringing Dickov on for Onechop; I was a bit surprised as I felt the Goat had a worse first-half as Paulo had confused the Chelsea defence a few times by dribbling over, round and through the ball. Anyway City again dominated possession only with a slightly bigger threat upfront, with SWP dropping behind the front 2 so forming a sort of 4-3-3. Again with no real cutting edge and no supply (why did Kennedy spend 90 minutes on the bench?) City looked as though they were never going to score and when Tiatto went off injured and was replaced by Gerard we seemed to lose it slightly, as Poyet put one shot over the bar and clipped another header onto the top of the crossbar. Whitley had a shot that Gooey slapped out for a corner and then Horlock fired a free kick which the Chelsea ‘keeper again struggled with so it came as no surprise that he was at fault for the goal. Horlock picking the ball up in midfield drifted towards the left hand side of the box where he unleashed a dipping, swerving shot that Gooey pushed out straight into the path of Dickov and the onrushing forward reacted excellently to steer the volley into the net. 2-1 and the game was on.

City pushed forward hard though we were in the last 8 minutes of the match. Horlock tried a very long range free-kick that Gooey spilled but no-one could get onto the rebound. SWP then volleyed just wide after a knock down from the Goat – now I’m convinced that SWP will open his account this season with a scorching right foot volley from the edge of the box, it’s just waiting to happen. It was though too much too late and the ref blew the whistle on yet another City defeat. We might well have been unlucky to lose but lose we did and with Derby and Bradford picking up the points it’s getting a bit tight at the bottom. Personally I’d like to see more wing play with Kennedy and someone else on the right-wing, not SWP as he seems better in the middle of the park, though with Joe seeming like he’s losing his marbles (re: comments on Dickov’s 50,000 mile service and Hippos lying on the pitch!) it could be local derbies against Stockport, Crewe and Preston next season.

Weaver (5) Didn’t look confident and was nearly at fault for a goal when Tiatto saved his skin.
Tiatto (8) Excellent performance until he went off injured, covered the whole of the left-wing and put in some great tackles/blocks/body in the way challenges at left-back.
Howey (7) Solid but was at fault for the second goal by not cutting the ball out; I don’t think he can believe how many times he has to defend well for us to win.
Prior (7) Played well as seems to have a good understanding with Howey, except for the 2nd goal when he tried to play Jimmy off-side but Howey wasn’t quite on the same wavelength.
Charvet (5) Fell over a lot and was caught out for the Zola goal, crossing was particularly poor.
Horlock (8) Came into the game very well as it progressed and seemed our only real threat in front of goal. Should start against Everton.
Haaland (6) Drifted in and out of the match, should really be playing a holding rôle because when he gets into attacking positions he looks like he’ll never score.
Whitley (6) Not one of his better games, but Haaland and him did control the midfield but created little in the way of goalscoring chances.
Wright-Phillips (9) My man of the match, caused problems and even flattened Desailly (or it could have been Bogarde). How many more plaudits can this lad attract? A star now let alone the future, let’s hope his brother Bradley can follow in his footsteps.
Goat (5) Poor, not match fit, poor, set up SWP for a decent chance and couldn’t quite get a shot on target when in the box. Shouldn’t be playing until he’s scoring regularly in the reserves.
Onechop (6) Better than the Goat and must have been upset at being taken off at half-time, but he does seem to have upset Joe. If it wasn’t for our lack of goals and lack of favoured strikers I could see Paulo going somewhere else.

Dickov (7) Did well and was a constant thorn in Chelsea’s side. Took his goal very well as it came at him quite quick; 4 for the season puts him just behind Onechop and presumably Weah (remember him?).
Wiekens (7) Put himself about well in midfield, and made some good headers and passes.

6 league defeats and the Millennium Stadium beckoning… altogether now “We are not, we’re not really here”.

James Walsh (


Well, this is probably going to be the worst match report that has ever been submitted to MCIVTA. For a kick off I was just over 20 minutes late getting into the ground, which was an ar*e-ache.

I turned up late and they would not let me in unless I had a ticket, “no, mate we can’t take cash now”, so after trying the Kippax stand, I ran around to the North stand, tried again to no avail. After I was refused entry again (a bit like a Saturday night with a nun), I stepped away from turnstile to be confronted by a ticket tout “Eh Are mate, wanna buy a ticket”; I asked how much: “Tenner”. Billy bargain, off I marched back to the ticket office, Bob’s yer Uncle, Fanny’s yer Aunt, I was in.

Right, off to find my seat. I look at the ticket properly for the first time, I can’t believe it, it’s a £3 junior ticket. Do I go back to the Adolfs in the orange jackets and explain my predicament? Nope, I’d find my seat and enjoy the match that was now 1-1, and heading for half time. It was my first time in the North Stand for quite sometime, I had a squeeze to get into my seat, they must make the leg room in between the seats for the extras on Wizard of Oz (i.e. small, for those not familiar with the 1930’s cinema classic). So there I was, sober at a City game, sat in the North stand. Strange watching City sober, quite surreal, the urges to give off abuse to opposing teams, fans and the referee were strangely muted, but those around me, including two blokes behind me, more than made up for my muted silence. John Hartson was the target of most of their abuse. But funny abuse it was, with names like, Pie man, Captain Chunky, Fat B**tard, Sheep sh*gger etc. (you get the gist), raining down mercilessly for the whole second half.

Some bloke in front of me kept shouting to some girl every time she passed “Oye have you got a sister?” then cracking up laughing with his pal. No I don’t get it either, but it provided 45 minutes of amusement, for 2 extras from The League of Gentlemen.

Well I suppose I better move on to the action on the pitch. Shaun Wright Phillips was the man of the hour, he was fantastic, and only a goal would have made this a perfect performance; he was simply sublime, he oozed class the way Kinky did in his prime, but there’s no ego in sight. Wanchope looked like a class act, and most of all looks to have pulled his finger out (from whereever he had it hid); he was hungry for the ball, making himself available. We could have had a penalty when he burst in the box and had his shirt tugged, I’ve seen them given (Upton Park against us). During the second half we battered them and had chance after chance; we jumped up twice thinking we had scored but the side netting was bulging the wrong way, damn and blast.

I started to worry because we were hammering them, then they broke and could have scored. I thought typical City, we could go out to a set of jammy Cockneys, however no Ricky Villa in sight. The bloke next to me, said “I hope this goes to extra time, get my money’s worth”, my look must have said it all, he didn’t try talking to me for the rest of the game, he must be bleedin’ mad. Their left back must be cursing the day he tangled with Shauny Wright, Wright, Wright, he was mesmerising, running at players, taking them on, dumping them on their backsides, I’m looking forward to see this lad in a blue shirt for the coming seasons.

Their ‘keeper made a couple of blinding saves around the hour mark; that just made me more nervous thinking they are going to pinch this. Mind you, they didn’t look like scoring, Hartson was about as convincing as a Welsh coal miner in drag. Kennnedy looked useful when he came on, finding Wright Phillips with a superb through ball, which he struck just wide.

With about 10 minutes to go, I heard my phone ring and went to look for it, you know the script, what pocket is it in, I know it’s mine; suddenly everyone cheered, yes we had scored and I was looking in my pockets, so missed the goal, what can you do? Go to a game and see no goals as such, I suppose it’s better than not going at all. So in the final minute Wright Phillips hit the side netting after a fantastic mazy run that brought Maine Road to its collective feet. The lad has a future, and he’s ours. Thank God.

So a match report, with no goals seen, not the best I suppose, but the atmosphere was superb, best chant of the night, sang to Wimbledon after we scored, “You’re going out with the Munichs, out with the Munichs” etc. Cardiff here we come, I hope.

Walter Smith (


I was sorry to hear about the death of Jack Dyson and even sorrier to hear of the need to appeal for relatives to come forward and that there was no City tribute.

Jack Dyson fulfilled two of my schoolboy ambitions: he scored a goal for City that helped them to win a Wembley Cup Final and he scored the winning runs for Lancashire in a Roses match. He was one of my sister’s favourites and I remember that he drove a two tone Austin Nash Metropolitan – quite a fancy car in those days.

Hearing of his death reminded me of a City song for the season that they beat Birmingham to win the Cup – I’m struggling to remember all the words but perhaps some other older City fans can oblige. It was based on the wartime song “Bless ’em all” and included the following:

Bless ’em all, Bless ’em all,
The long and the short and the tall,
Bless ?????? who runs up the wing,
Bless Jack Dyson, the penalty king,
And with Leivers and Spurdle so tall,
And ??????? the king of ’em all…
So cheer up you light blues, you’re always the right blues,
And come on my lads, Bless ’em all.

David Lewis (


I go onto the web at 10pm on Sunday night and the Chelsea score is still 2-0; when is the web site going to get up to speed? I have to email my colleague in Sri Lanka to make sure he knows we did score a goal and Dickov scored it.

Mike Collard (


No the title isn’t some exercise in trying to tongue-tie Taggart, but a whimsical start to an article I’ve been dying to write for a couple of weeks; given some of the comments in the last issue (MCIVTA 663), it seemed quite pertinent now.

Ernie Whalley (I’ll be sure to take you up on the chance of a Guinness or two mate) asked had anyone seen one of the Rags’ zines? Well as I’m typing this I’ve got one of said pieces of garbage in front of me. Before everyone starts sending me white feathers and hate mail, let me tell you how I came by this piece of malicious prose. Most of the lads I work with are Rags, typical Rags in most cases as they haven’t set foot inside a football ground in a decade or so. However, one at least must be a practicing Swamp-dweller as lying around on a table in work was this copy of Red Issue (#38 Nov 2000 if anyone wants to check this out). A quick flick through to see what sort of stuff the Rag tribe talk about to each other in their ‘zines convinced me that here was a publication that solidly confirmed every pre-conceived idea I had ever had about them. In the interests of balance I ‘borrowed’ (believe me the thing is going straight back when I am next in work) the rag and had a good read through. This travesty of a football ‘zine consists of 36 pages, if you count front and back covers, and at a quick count contained 8.75 pages of anti-MCFC stuff. Then there is all the other ‘anti-someone’ stuff that is in there which probably amounts to another couple of pages. The main feature article was an interview with the Mr Posh himself. “Ahh”, I think, “maybe there will be some insight into the footballing secrets that make the Rags the team they are”; my expectations are raised when I read ‘Red Issue cut the c**p and asked the questions to David that really matter’

Question 1: Lots of publicity was given to you eating a meat pie whilst sat in with the U*d fans… Oh well, that’s OK, start with a little humour.
Question 2: Not a day goes by without a ridiculous story being printed about you…
and so it goes on. Not until we hit Question 10 is there any real reference to football other than sitting watching the stuff and this one is about different coaching styles between Brian Kidd and Steve (I’m not really Fergie’s boy) McLaren.
Question 11 and we have a chance for some incisive comment: ‘Why do you think U*d are doing so badly in Europe away this season?’ The answer is a gem! I don’t really know! Enough of this tripe, let’s carry on to history and turn to an article reminiscing about the 1983 FA Cup clash with derby. I have to admit that I had a little difficulty following this piece, as here I was expecting a piece again on football. Sadly no! This article was about how a bunch of tooled up Rag morons took on the pride of Derby thugs and gave them a resounding walloping. Not a single mention of the game, this was all about tribal warfare and two full pages of it to boot!

So much for Rag football commentary, in fact to be honest there isn’t one paragraph in the whole thing that is about ‘football’, plenty about sponsorship issues and how naffed off they are that they aren’t allowed to sing anymore, but bog all about how the team is selected, tactics played or even a match report. The article I found most offensive though was a cartoon which featured a section, likening cramming ragheads into the Rag souvenir shop to packing the gas chambers at Auschwitz (incorrectly spelt in the RI). Having just visited Auschwitz/Birkenau and seen for myself the total horror of that place, the use of it as a subject of parody is the height of bad taste and should any of these human wrecks ever try to take the moral high ground over the Munich songs again I shall point them to this particularly poisonous rag and ask them to justify that (please note I am definitely not an advocate of the two wrongs making a right school of thought on this and still regard the singing of songs with any reference to Munich as abhorrent)!

Overall the feeling of smug complacency that exuded from every full stop was breathtaking. Even the recently vacant post of England manager came in for derision. Steve McLaren should not feel that being involved with the national squad in any way compares with the greater honour of managing the Rags! There is only one big club in this country, nay the world and that is MUFC. The height of this self aggrandisement came when some ex-Salfordian complained that Joe Corrigan didn’t recognise him in a pub recently after last seeing him in 1974 when he and a couple of hundred of his brainless compadres got the Denis Law derby abandoned. Maybe that was supposed to be humour, but if it was I didn’t see the joke. Oh and finally there is one Rag who feels that United don’t get enough TV/press coverage because the media is biased toward London clubs… give me strength! 36 pages it contains and 36 is probably the IQ you need to read it and say it’s a good read! Needless to say I shall not be taking a look into the pages of Red Issue ever again, but fear not brothers and sisters, if the copy I had is typical of the norm, then if you ever wondered if we are not just a little unfair to the scum when we criticise them, believe me we are only just scratching the surface.

Dave Cash (


I don’t mean to relaunch a point which was much discussed not so long ago, but you may have read my post in the last MCIVTA regarding United fans’ references to Russian submarines. My argument was that their song was every bit as distasteful as any Munich reference.

I appear to have been incorrect in this assertion, however, as a United fan on their message board explains:

“… the difference between the sub song and the Munich song is; one mentions lying in the snow and dying and the other is sung without referring to the deaths in a gloating way. Our song isn’t sung with the malice associated with the Munich song, it’s more of a directional reminder to our Blue neighbours.”

That clears that one up then.

Scott Turton (


I managed to catch most of the England vs. Scotland schoolboy match on Friday (on Sky). What a game! I’ve never seen such an entertaining game at that level, England won it 5-0. The star of the show (by some way) was Lee Croft, a City youngster. He scored a great goal when he wellied in a long shot after a poor kick from their ‘keeper. He also ran the midfield, looked good on the ball and created chances (setting up England’s fifth). The TV pundits were lavishing him with praise. In a few years’ time he could be a real first team star. So let’s hope he doesn’t get poached. There were 2 other City youngsters, a centre back, and a striker who came on at half time (Proffit) who almost immediately scored a brilliant individual goal.

Tim Starns (


From now on till May all of Joe’s team talks before the game are to start with, “Right lads, we are 2-0 down and we’ve got to pull it back…”

Pete Blyth (


Like many other City fans I was incensed by Paul Wilson’s ‘match report’ in the Observer the day after the derby. I wrote to him and waited and waited and waited for a reply that was never going to come. Every morning I resent my original email to him but no response.

I then forwarded it to the sports editor. Two days later I finally received a reply. I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it with everyone…

Were we right about him? Judge for yourself.

 To: Brian Oliver
 Sports Editor
 The Observer

Dear Mr Oliver,

I have so far sent 10 copies of the following email to Paul Wilson, one of your sports writers. He has not got the courtesy to reply. I would appreciate a reply either from him or you. I feel that his ‘match report’ from last weeks’ Manchester derby was an unbridled attack on Manchester City FC. It was a disgraceful piece of journalism and would have been more suited to a fanzine than a national newspaper.

Yours sincerely

Kevin Cummins

Dear Mr Wilson,

Could you please give me the courtesy of a reply? As a fellow journalist I am disappointed in your lack of respect.

Your silence speaks volumes.

Kevin Cummins

Dear Mr Wilson,

Could you please explain why you consider that it is moronic to sing about the Munich aircrash, a tragedy that Manchester United have exploited for their own financial gain for 42 years; but you make no mention of the (equally) moronic songs from the Man U fans with regard to the Russian submarine tragedy, where incidentally more lives were lost.

Could you also explain why you chose to vent your obvious bias and dislike of Manchester City in the guise of a match report in a national newspaper. Surely your ill informed comments would be better suited to one of your beloved club’s fanzines. I believe Red Issue is particularly vitriolic in its hatred of all things blue.

Furthermore, why is Alfie Haarland ‘unlikeable’? Is this relevant and to whom apart from you is he unlikeable? If you’d conducted a straw poll at Maine Road on Saturday or indeed at any other ground in the country, I think Beckham, Butt, Scholes, Neville and Neville, Keane and Sheringham would be higher up the list of unlikeable footballers than any of the Manchester City team.

I await your (predictable) response with interest.

Kevin Cummins

His reply:

Dear Mr Cummins,

I hope you get this e-mail. I didn’t get any of yours, and only heard of your complaint via the message you sent to the office. Sorry about the delay.

Here’s the predictable reply, anyway.

1) Surely it is moronic for any football supporters to sing about the Munich aircrash. Especially football supporters in Manchester. The fact that United fans might have equally moronic chants of their own is neither here nor there. During the Maine Road derby, I didn’t hear any, whereas the Munich chants from the City fans were clearly audible on television. By Munich chants I don’t just mean “Who’s that lying on the runway” etc., I also mean “Who’s the Munich in the black?” and so on.

2) I don’t write for Red Issue, I write for a national newspaper. So where else would I vent my obvious bias and dislike of Manchester City?

3) I don’t need to tell you which club I support, but it certainly isn’t Manchester United.

4) I don’t accept that my comments were ill-informed. I think you will find that a City supporter was ejected for throwing a missile at David Beckham, and if you don’t believe me about the chanting, try to obtain a video and have a listen. I must admit that my opinion of Alfie Haaland is more subjective, but I bet I have been watching him for longer than you. In particular, I was at Stockport County this summer for his City début, when he had to be substituted at the referee’s recommendation to avoid picking up a red card in a friendly. He was also involved in the touchline scuffle towards the end of the derby, and it was his (wholly unnecessary) foul on Paul Scholes which cost City the lead after 96 seconds. His explanation? “I thought I was further out than that.”

In what sense is Roy Keane unlikeable, by the way? Or David Beckham? Do you mean you wouldn’t like them in the City team? I think not. Do you imagine United would like Alfie Haaland in exchange? With respect, I think yours are the views more suited to a fanzine.

Thanks for taking the trouble to write, anyway.

Paul Wilson

Kev Cummins (


I have to write again about the hypocrisy of Ian Woods, this patriot who took himself off from Blighty and would prefer City to be relegated for some selfish obsession for national pride. I would like to remind him that the prawns have no monopoly on outside support and if he went to Maine Road – if he has ever there – he might have noticed the Scots the Irish, the Welsh, the Anzacs, the Maltese, the Yanks, the Canadians, and whoever I’ve left out – don’t worry. Vanes, I have not forgotten you – like the rest of us, champions of the underdog and City till we die.

John McFarlane (


I’m writing this one at a bit of a disadvantage. For a start I’m all sweating and nervous waiting for the clash with International Designerlabel FC. Secondly, in an unaccustomed fit of good housekeeping I cleaned out a load of redundant messages and inadvertently scrapped the last McVittie. But, unless memory fails me, was there some guy saying “it’s okay to boo/whistle other people’s national anthems BECAUSE THEY KNOW WE DO IT?!” J*s*s, have we come to this? Keeping the gob shut while the opposition’s anthem is playing (and some cultures take their anthems a lot more seriously than Brits do “God Save The Q” probably because theirs have words about “liberty” and “equality”) is the fans’ equivalent of booting the ball into touch when the opposition has a player injured – it’s as close as we come to a sporting gesture in a dog-eat-dog culture we all know and most of us (and them) love. So please grow up. The same article had, if I remember correctly, the usual jingoistic vein of purest s**t running through it about how all England supporters are jolly chaps ’cause they like to get tanked up and swagger a bit, but underneath beats a soft-centred marshmallow pure white heart with a red sugar cross on it and it’s all the fault of nasty foreign fuzz, what’s the jargon, “over policing”? Sorry, but I was in Lansdowne Road a few years back, one of the defining moments in my life – until Ireland scored I thought “chair lifts” belonged to another sport, skiing. It wasn’t just two nutters with a pocketful of loose change, either. What about minutes of silence? How loud can you whistle then? Come on lemme hear ya! It must be okay ’cause they know you’re going to do it…

P.S. the night at Lansdowne did have an entertaining sequel. The next night, as was my custom, I played floodlight football with a load of my Irish friends. In the changing room I said, by way of apology, “I’ll understand if you want to kick the sh*t out of me tonight, lads”. They replied “We do that every week. What’s so special…?”

Ernie Whalley (


So where do we go from here?

Six straight league defeats. Panic should be setting in. Eyes should be scanning the transfer market in order to fill the gaping holes which glare at us whenever City play. But they don’t. I was at Upton Park and Stamford Bridge, and apart from the one 2nd half collapse we more than held our own. Joe’s tried all sorts of tactics: constancy, bringing Paulo on for the second half, playing Paulo and the Goat together, playing SWP and Dickov together giving us less height but more speed. The defence looks relatively tight although you wouldn’t know it from the statistics. Weaver has got all the credentials to be a top Premiership ‘keeper. Charvet looks to be class. All that’s missing is confidence. Alfie’s been solid, Tiatto and Whitley are proving themselves worthy of their places in the Premiership side. Dickov runs his heart out and is threatening on goal. SWP is an absolute star waiting for that first goal to set him on his way. Kennedy is trying to get more into the game yet far too often the crosses just miss the Goat and fall just behind Paulo with SWP just not there in time.

All these excuses and I am trying to be objective. I don’t see a crisis, I see a desperate need for something to break the run of league defeats and I comfortable 14th position by May. This is a new City, there is self-belief, the fans at Stamford Bridge and Upton Park were on the whole 100% behind the lads from start to finish. Maybe the fact that there is no glaring problem in the team is the biggest worry, we don’t know what to fix. Our goal isn’t mid-table mediocrity come May, it’s 17th, it’s survival. Two successive wins and we’re back in mid-table. I guess my eternal optimism could be City’s downfall once again, let’s hope not.

Benjamin Bloom – BennyBlue on BV (


Well I got my wrist slapped for perhaps using words that were a little too strong for Wanchope’s performances. I said he was “lazy”, maybe I should have said he is “off form”. After seeing his game against Chelsea, yes he is off form, lack of ball control, and wants the ball to come to him. We all know what Wanchope can do, we all saw it against Sunderland. I still say we should play him in the next game; he needs to get some confidence back in his game. Joe, how about encouraging the lad? In the game against Chelsea, City showed more spirit in the 2nd half when they brought on Dickov. A sloppy goal cost us a point.

This would be my line up for our next game.

Weaver, Dunne, Prior, Howey, Tiatoo, Haaland, Horlock, Whitley, Wright-Phillips, Wanchope, Kennedy.

Subs: Charvet, Wright, Dickov, Wiekens.

The Goat is a toss up with Wanchope but I would give Wanchope another chance; we did not spend all that money on him not to play. Yes Wanchope, still has something to prove he can not live on his performance against Sunderland. Anyone out there superstitious: we have not won a game whilst Charvet has been playing for us, and since he signed. (not to say it’s his fault we lost.) If City continue to play every game as they did in the 2nd half against Chelsea, good things have got to happen.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow (


Lord almighty… saw the Chelsea game on TV here in Sweden and I don